Counties call for bigger role in solving housing crisis

County council leaders have called for a larger role in delivering affordable homes across the country.

A study published today by Catriona Riddell Associates for the County Councils Network (CCN) calls for a re-introduction of strategic planning to closer align planning and infrastructure and to accelerate housing delivery.

And another report also published today by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) for the CCN, backs a stronger role for counties in planning and closer collaboration between the two tiers of council in county areas.

The report also showcases the work many counties are doing to deliver housing, and recommends extra resource for counties to start building homes.

The TCPA report also includes a new survey which reveals nine in 10 county councils class their need for affordable housing as either ‘severe or moderate’.

And two-thirds of respondents in the TCPA survey said the biggest barrier to setting up housing companies or joint development ventures was a lack of capacity. 
Further CCN analysis also shows that on average, just one quarter of homes built in counties over the last seven years are affordable houses, compared to 44% in London and 34% in cities and metropolitan boroughs. Less than one quarter of new build homes in the East of England have been affordable in that period, whilst the figure is just one quarter in the East Midlands, and one fifth in Yorkshire.

Both reports will be launched at a national housing conference organised by the CCN in London today (20 June)

‘Whilst counties are taking matters into their own hands, their ambitions remain shackled by planning reforms that do not go far enough, especially on planning on a strategic scale,’ said the CCN’s housing spokesman, Cllr Philip Atkins.

‘These reports today set out a series of recommendations to enable counties to do more to deliver the homes for people of all ages the country desperately needs; properties of the right tenures and in the right places, backed by the necessary infrastructure to ensure that we build sustainable communities, not just simply houses.’

And the TCPA chief executive Kate Henderson added: ‘Counties are innovating right across the country, making the most of their assets such as land owned by the council or public sector.

‘The study reveals that counties understand that to realise the true value of land they must do more than just maximise sales receipts. They are aware that they must understand the potential for long-term income streams, have a stake in the quality of the development and secure wider social and economic benefits. Ultimately, the report demonstrates that counties are an important part of the solution to the national housing crisis.’

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart


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